Monday, December 31, 2012

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Missed by one day . . . a White Christmas. Woke to a bit of snowfall this morning and nice to see some of it as not a flake fell against my window pane last winter. Astute observers might detect some similarities between this photo and a recent posting! Merry Day After.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A bit shy of 12" x 9", this one finished up yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A broader view of the entire composition as it stood after studio time yesterday. Day off today, time to do a bit of Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Proof that I actually have been at work during the week since my last posting . . . case in point . . . I guess two plus days worth of work on this so far. Yes, I don't normally consider 'pets' as subject matter for a work, the occasional friend's dog or such aside, but my neighbor's cat often spends time in my back patio/garden watching for chipmunks or field mice and I can't resist the odd photo - just in case something should trigger inspiration (one never knows from whence that may come) - and so here we go!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fritz Thaulow - Redux

Following upon yesterday's posting about my 'discovery' of Frits Thaulow and his marvelous paintings, I wanted to post a few more of my favorite works after doing further study on line yesterday afternoon. Not only could he paint water . . . but to my eye he was also a master at snow and pure landscape and interior views and giving the mundane a breath of impact and importance which speaks greatly to me and my way of attempting to pursue my creative leanings. 

His design concepts and compositional ideas were, to me, stunning . . . often simple in structure but extremely appealing in his use of strong or unusual visual angles, extremes of light and shadow and compelling subject placement. This was a man whose works distinctly encompassed the use of all the tried and true elements of compositional design, which I have often talked about here, and yet did that in a way that one feels they are simply looking upon the scenes of every day life, composed as they happened and without forethought or planning or manipulation . . . snapshots of reality. 

In these following pairs of works, I've just, again, touched the very tip of the iceberg that was a tremendous body of work that Thaulow produced during his painting years. Of particular favorable note to my eye are the first two pairings of snow scenes which not only cast a shiver as I look at them, but embody those strong points mentioned above of the use of interesting angular composition and focus upon the rather mundane and easily overlooked. The image to the right especially rings in my ears because it is a perfect example of what I often try to focus upon when constructing an idea for a new work . . . looking at the ordinary with a fresh eye, giving strength and character to subjects that are easily overlooked or taken for granted. It is a simple scene, painted with minimal palette and minimal information yet has strength and interest . . . beautifully subtle in detail yet, to my mind, overflowing with emotion.

In the next paring below the snow scenes are two more of my favorite works in this little assemblage. I am so taken with the structure and idea of the left hand work, the ship on the sea with its wonderful angular movement and the great chop of the sea; I can just about feel the tilt of the deck beneath my feet and the spray of salt across my face. What a wonderful, compelling and unique compositional structure. Thaulow's use of light and shadow in the right hand, night scene also strike deeply with me and that spark of light in the lantern absolutely brings me into the work and the deft handling of bits of reflected and direct light throughout the work, move me around it and keep my attention.

I could find many words to speak about the other images I've selected here but will leave it for your enjoyment at this point. I know I shall continue to explore more about Thaulow as time passes because his work has really dug deeply and taken hold. And, at the bottom of this posting, I've uploaded my finished 'The Old Well House', which was completed yesterday. I hope it embodies some of the character of what I find so appealing about Thaulow's work, but that too, I shall leave to the viewer to decide.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Frits Thaulow - Norwegian of Note

 Before work begins later, I wanted to offer a little aside on a 'discovery' I made this morning prompted by a posting on Facebook about an artist whom I had no previous knowledge of, late 19th Century Norwegian, Frits Thaulow. This man knew how to paint water! 

Even though I am not a painter, I often derive much from the study of paintings and painters; many of my best artist friends are painters and I relish spending time in their studios, talking 'shop' or critiquing each others' works or just digging into all facets of art talk. Spending time in museums and seeing special exhibitions also add much to my thought processes when composing my own works and formulating ideas about design and structure in sketching out new ideas. Leaving myself open to any and all outside influences makes me a better artist I think and often, as it did this morning, opens my eyes to things that I never would have considered. 

After seeing the posting of one single image of Thaulow's work on Facebook, I was eager to see more and after doing a Google search, discovered, to my joy, an entire 'world' of water in this man's brilliant work. Born in 1847, he lived to 1906 and his life spanned a very interesting period in art for sure. He painted much while living in Norway but spent the last decade and a half of his life in France where he was no doubt continued to be influenced by the late Impressionist period, though it is obvious that even while still painting in Norway, his style was very commensurate with that of the likes of Monet and Surat in France. When I looked carefully at his brush work (several details of which are spotlighted at the bottom of this posting, so click on them to open a larger version) I saw a great resemblance to that of Monet for certain; the rather quick stabs of color and noodly brush work, the bold contrasts of color swirls which assembled themselves into a wonderful feeling of depth and translucence.

I've gathered together here just a smidgeon of his greater body of images available on line, so do your own search to see what treasures lay in store for the looking. Click on the framed image below to see a larger version of this collage of some of my favorites of Thaulow's. I have further reading and exploration to do, for sure,  on this new found addition to my list of favorite artists.

Monday, December 10, 2012

After studio work time today, this is where things stand on the current work on the board . . .

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Installment three of the current work, I believe the well house is pretty much done at this point. Lots of noodling left though . . . 

Friday, December 07, 2012

As work begins today . . .

Thursday, December 06, 2012

As noted yesterday, there are things brewing in the studio, so . . . let it snow, let it snow, let it . . . 
I decided to take advantage of the fact that we are in the beginnings of winter (even though the outdoor temps tell me it is more like early spring!) and do something that would add a chill to the studio air. Digging through reference from a snowy day drive in the country several winters ago, I settled on working up an idea based upon a dozen or so shots taken at this farm, combining things into, I hope, a pleasing composition. You might think snow is an easy thing to delineate in pencil . . . remains to be seen! Subtlety is the name of this game.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sunday, December 02, 2012

On this first weekend in December, and with 22 shopping days till Christmas, why not think seriously about shopping 'SMALL' . . . small meaning local, neighborhood, independent. And, how much more local and independent can you get than an artist, craftsperson, sculptor or other creative soul? Supporting those of us who make by hand keeps the creative soul prospering, adding much needed beauty to the world through their own personal ideas and thoughts. Even a small purchase from a creative 'maker' this Holiday season will go a long way in that support and continue to help nurture the creative souls among us. Socks are great, but an original work of art sitting on a shelf, hanging on the wall or enjoying the sunshine in a garden adds so much more beauty and emotion to your surroundings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

After a quick review this morning to make certain that there would not be need for some last minute adjustments, this one was finished up late last night. 'Teaming Up' measures 6 3/4" x 24 1/2".

Sunday, November 25, 2012


A bit of lateral movement this morning as I take a slight detour from the usual to offer a few personal remarks on a quote I read this morning, posted on Facebook by an artist friend, thus . . . 'Most representational artists know strong abstract design underlies every piece of representational art, and values are the bones. So, interesting shapes and design, held in unity by values, are the backbones of all good paintings . . . '.

This quote came from Bill Davidson, whose work I was somewhat familiar with, having seen it in issues of Southwest Art magazine over the years and occasionally stumbling across it on line. But, I never really took an in depth look at his body of work till this morning, when I decided to seek his work on line and found his wonderful blog, Reflections.

Digging deeper into dozens of his paintings, his words above, really resonated with me and in such a brief statement, spoke volumes about not only his personal approach to painting but the underlying 'bones' of how I tend to construct my compositions with what I always hope are 'interesting shapes' and designs. I've spoken about this on numerous occasions before and especially a number of years ago when I was deep in the midst of preparing for my solo exhibition, Unknown Bridges, with the Woodson Art Museum. I talked then about how I was struck by the very abstract nature of bridges and their structure and wanted to somehow incorporate that abstraction into my art. It dawned upon me then, that I had rekindled my youthful desire to be an abstract expressionist artist within the confines of the realistic manner in which my graphite work had evolved.

Reading Davidson's words this morning reinforced what I had understood deep down, ether consciously or subconsciously, all these years since my expressionist painter days in art school and proved to me that I was not alone in that understanding.

Though Davidson is a painter and uses values of color to organize his shapes and designs, my organizational framework in graphite also depends greatly on the opposing values of light and dark, sharp and soft, and intense and subtle to bring to life the shapes and designs that form in my mind's eye.

I've often spoken about how new ideas for work materialize, for me, out of basic geometric shapes a good percentage of the time; overlapping shapes of variations in grey, circles over triangles over squares butted up against rectangles in unique and appealing 'structures', the variations posible in juxtaposing positive and negative spacial relationships - black over white, white over black. All of these elements of good design, present even in abstraction, play into thoughts and compositional arrangements within the context of my figurative and representational subject matter. This is the stuff that always gets my creative juices flowing!

If you take a few moments and look at Davidson's paintings, you become quite aware of his well thought out placement of all elements and shapes; the well balanced positive and negative spacial relationships; his use of cool and warm values to move things forward and back - developing great depth and dimension. All of this is accomplished with very loose brush work, bold, non-fussy shapes, and lost edges which are structured over a basic skeleton of abstract forms within the confines of his canvas. Sure they are 'pretty pictures' but they have far more bones to them than being just a nice representation of some inviting scene in nature.

The well thought out work of art should and will grab your attention much deeper and with greater intensity than the lesser planed work. You may not know why, but you will know that it speaks more strongly to some emotion than other works might. The time spent by an artist on finding the 'right' placement of subject matter, the right intensity of light and shadow, the right attention to focus and detail - leaving out what is not needed and including only what is, and basically building upon a set of bare bones shapes, should result in a most engaging work which, if representational in feel, when eyes are squinted and the view is fuzzied, can pass for a totally abstract formulation.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Today's work . . . 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Today's work and showing the entire composition now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A bit more work yesterday . . .

. . . taking a break today to enjoy the Holiday. Hope you will too!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OK, yes . . . there actually is work going on in the studio. So, here is a little snippet of a much larger work taking shape on the board right now. Working for gallery exchanges now and for the coming weeks. I do believe this subject matter has been seen on these pages before! (Oh! Do I love those hats!!)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Here is today's small, reduced price work up for grabs. $150 will put this work in your collection and will include the cost of shipping to a continental US address via Priority Mail. The first person who contacts me will own this little work! A big 'Thanks' to those who have already purchased some of these most recent posted works. I hope they will bring joy for many years to come.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Here is today's small work for purchase at a special, reduced price. As with yesterday's piece, this one is a bit more involved than some of the earlier works, a bit larger too, so it is being priced at $175 for purchase by the first person who contacts me for payment through Pay Pal. The cost, as before, includes Priority Mail shipping to a continental US address.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Today's small work up for purchase at a special reduced price of $175. This one is priced a slight bit higher than the previous several as it is a bit more of involved work. The price, as before, includes the cost of shipment to a continental US address via Priority Mail and will go to the first person who contacts me for purchase through a Pay Pal account.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SOLD (as of 4:20 PM Eastern)

The third small work up for purchase in my current offering at $150, which will include the cost of Priority Mail shipping to a continental US address. The work will go to the first person who contacts me for purchase through a Pay Pal payment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SOLD (as of 4 PM Eastern)

Here is the second of the smaller, reduced price works I will be posting over the next several days. 'Sundowner' depicts one of my favorite subjects, elephant as well as the wonderful African baobab tree. It will go to the first person who contacts me for purchase at $150 and will ship to a continental US address via Priority Mail. It's framed as shown and ready to hang on your wall! I will be most pleased to accept your Pay Pal payment.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

As I noted several months ago when I last posted some smaller, framed works at a greatly reduced price, I am once again going to offer several of these small scale works at a special price which will include shipping to a continental US address with preferred payment through Pay Pal. 
This first work up is Stonington Mist, which was done from material gathered along the coast of Maine. I am offering this one at $150 which will include the cost of shipping via Priority Mail as noted above to a continental US address. I will be posting one work a day for the next several days both here and on my Facebook art page. This work will go to the first person who contacts me for purchase. Good Luck!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Just a quick 'Thank You' to all who stopped by and spoke to me at the Waterfowl Festival this past weekend. It was a wonderful weekend, very fall-like in Easton on the beautiful eastern shore of Maryland. I was pleased with sales and hope all who purchased works will find them to bring pleasure for many years to come. A breather today and then it will be back to work later this week on new gallery pieces and maybe one of my two entries for next year's Birds in Art jury, though I have not one single idea as yet floating around in my mind for that!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Later this month, Howard/Mandville Gallery in Kirkland, Washington will host the opening of their 22nd Annual Small Works Show in which I have several new works included. It is a fine assemblage of work from 90 plus nationally known artists and they have posted a number of the works on their site already for review. As the weeks progress toward the November 17th reception, more works will be added as they arrive at the gallery. I am honored to have my work hang alongside those of some of the country's top fine artists. Take a look . . . you might find that perfect work of art to add to your collection.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Four days and counting down . . . The Waterfowl Festival opens with a gala invitation only reception on Thursday evening for benefactors and badge holders to have a first crack at all the wonderful art on display. Public hours begin on Friday morning and run through 4 PM on Sunday afternoon. Easton is a pleasant drive from many of the major mid-coast cities in the DC area, so why not take a break this weekend and enjoy some good food, great entertainment on the streets of historic Easton, MD and check out the sculpture, fine art, crafts, carvings and more scattered throughout town. Almost everything to see is within walking distance and the several outer venues are easily reached by fast and convenient free bus service throughout the weekend. And now, time for me to start gathering up all the new works I've done for the show and get things ready for the trip across the Bay later this coming week. See you there!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Perhaps the last of the new works for next week's opening of the Waterfowl Festival on Maryland's beautiful (it still is even after Sandy!) eastern shore. Another of the smaller works, this one is just over 6" x 4". I might get yet one more work done before I leave for Easton next Thursday but my inventory for the show is pretty good at this point. We'll see how things go this weekend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another small work (just over 3" x just over 6") that will head to the Waterfowl Festival next week. Lucky and fortunate was I not to lose power during the big blow yesterday and last night. I know tens of thousands are without and I hope they will not be without for too long, so I am very thankful to have weathered the storm relatively problem free. I shall endeavor to put the time left this week to good use and get a couple more small works done. Good thing I dug through reference on Sunday evening to have things lined up, just in case!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In the final push toward the upcoming Waterfowl Festival here is a small (a tad over 3" x 6") work just off the drawing board. I hope to get several more done in the next 9 days, but that depends on which way Sandy heads over the next 36 hours and if we get hit and lose power for a time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Arriving on my doorstep yesterday, my copy of the just published Strokes of Genius 4: The Best of Drawing/Exploring Line caused a moment of deep breaths as I opened the box and to my amazement and pleasant surprise, found one of my two included works gracing the back cover of the volume! To have work included in the book is quite an honor, this being the third time I have had works included in this series, two in the 3rd installment and five in the 2nd. But to find my work on the jacket just about knocked my socks off. I am grateful to North Light Books, Sara Laichas, editor and Rachel Rubin Wolf for her initial selection of my work. A quick leaf through last evening found a host of incredible works representing the very creative results of artists from across the globe. The book is available now through the North Light's web site bookstore, Amazon or perhaps your favorite local bookseller.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A spectacular day at the races yesterday . . . the fall meet of the Virginia International Gold Cup Races. The weather was just about perfect, the fall color gleaming nicely, the colorful crowd and silks adding just the right splash . . . and the wonderful horses! Lots of images to be gone through today, but here are just a few I pulled out now to remind myself of what a great day it was. As always, I have the copyright on the images but please enjoy them here on my blog page.